Kitchen Therapy


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French Cheesecake or Torteau Fromager

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French Cheesecake or Torteau Fromager from David Lebovitz’s cookbook, My Paris Kitchen and this week’s Cook the Books Fridays recipe.
The last few weeks have been busy. We moved into the house we have been building and while the outside of the house is still looking like a construction site, the inside (especially the kitchen) is ready! I took a photo of the sky last night and it shows the state of our yard ๐Ÿ™‚
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Cooking in the new kitchen has been wonderful. It’s spurred me into a bit of a cooking frenzy! And what a week to return to Cook the Book Fridays. This French Cheesecake was amazing. David Lebovitz says “the blackened crust hides a cake with the unique flavour of a dense American cheesecake, but with the light sponginess of a Japanese cheesecake.” And that pretty much says it all.
If a light, white, sponge cake and a cheesecake had a baby, then this would be it.
I really liked the taste and texture of this cake, my 18yr old who has always stood by his dislike for cheesecake, actually liked this cake and asked for more.
I wish I left it in the oven just a few more minutes, there was a section in the centre that was a bit under done. It still tasted good though, so no one cared!
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I probably would have steered clear of this recipe had it not been for this group, the burnt coloured top would have left me feeling sceptical enough to not try this. So it’s a good reminder of how good it is to push myself out of my comfort zone, thanks to the Cook the Book Fridays group ๐Ÿ™‚

 


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Mini Pavlovas

fullsizeoutput_cbd.jpegThis week’s Tuesday’s with Dorie is Sunny Side Up Meringues.
I love meringues. Adore them. However, there was something about these egg looking cookies that messed with my head. I just kept thinking of boiled eggs. So I took Dorie’s suggestion and filled the center with a dollop of cream and fruit and called them mini pavlovas ๐Ÿ™‚

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Every year we make a 12 egg Pavlova for Christmas (it is perfect for our hot Sydney Christmas weather). Then I make another one for the week between Christmas and New Year’s Eve. And a third one to eat as we watch the fireworks to welcome in the New Year!
We are hard core Pavlova fans.
So the decision to make mini Pavlova’s was easy.
These were delicious! Very delicate and waaay too easy to eat!
Looking forward to reading what the rest of the Tuesday’s with Dorie group thought about these.


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Hamantaschen

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It has been another long while since my last post.
There are weeks I cook along with the group, read up on what everyone thinks and then don’t actually post anything!
Then we decided to get this little guy a few days before Christmas…
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We suddenly had a new fur baby in the house!
He threw our daily routine into chaos for a little while ๐Ÿ™‚
Most of all however, the humidity of the Australian summer has just sucked the life right out of me. Living by the beach definitely helps. I think Manly Beach is stunning…
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So… finally… Chewie the puppy is house trained.
I have a new laptop that actually works with my phone so I can upload/download things (lol).
Most of all, the temperature has finally dropped!
And I have been wanting to make Hamantaschen for the longest time.
These little cookies have fascinated me for a while now.
So many variations on the internet I didn’t know where to start.
When I saw they were the recipe of the week for the Tuesdays with Dorie group I knew it was meant to be!
I loved these. I rolled my pastry thin, I was worried it might have been thinner than the 1/8 inch height Dorie recommended. I just managed to get the dough on the baking sheet before it melted in my hands, so I’ll admit my expectations were low. The result was such a delicate and fine pastry I could have happily eaten it on its own.
The filling I thought would be too sweet when I tried a spoonful. Yet somehow it balanced out in the light delicate pastry shell.
I thoroughly enjoyed these and am very happy that my first attempt was Dorie Greenspan’s recipe from her Dorie’s Cookies book and as part of the Tuesdays with Dorie group! Cannot wait to see what others thought.


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Crumb Topped Apple Bars

It has been a very long while since I cooked with the Tuesdays with Dorie group. I have always enjoyed being a part of the group. However, as I mentioned in my last post, I was working with rape and domestic violence clients, working a 24 hour roster and then I caught every virus going, the last one being glandular fever. I just could not recover. I made attempts to join in with the cooking, however it was always short lived.
I have recently found a functional medicine doctor, not many of those here in Australia! I wasn’t expecting much, considering my experience to date with doctors has been… not great to say the least.
Some genetic testing revealed I have inherited faulty MTHFR genes. Not one, but two faulty copies from each parent! Basically, this gene mutation effects my ability to convert folate I eat into something my body can use. If you are cruising through life, this might not be much of an issue, and for me it was fine for some 40+ years. However once I became very ill, it was hard to recover.
I tried everything! Even going vegan for a while, which I now realise made things worse as my body needs a much larger amount of B12 than the average ‘non mutant’ gene person ๐Ÿ™‚
I am excited that with high doses of B12 and methylfolate (tiny doses) I am already feeling better! And the first thing I wanted to do was cook!

This week’s recipe was interesting for me as part of my healing was cooking green apples, with a handful of raisins, cinnamon and some honey. I love this combination. The crumb topped apple bars are the same combination (minus the cinnamon) on a cookie base!
It was so much fun cooking this. I haven’t used butter and sugar in a while and it was ridiculously enjoyable! I realised my tastes have changed a bit and while I loved the apple filling I did find the whole bar a bit too sweet! Something I did not think I would ever say in my life!
The rest of the family was very excited with the smells that filled the house with this recipe. They have enjoyed the raw desserts I’ve been making however they did say they missed the smell of baking ๐Ÿ™‚
I am looking forward to reading about what the other members of the Tuesdays with Dorie group thought of their recipe of the week.


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Rice Pudding with Strawberries and Spiced Hibiscus Syrup

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I love rice pudding.
It’s one of those dishes that takes me back to my childhood both in Yugoslavia and then later here in Australia.
My mum would sprinkle chocolate on top and it was real comfort food to me.

This week’s Tuesdays with Dorie recipe sees classic rice pudding topped with fresh strawberries and a spiced hibiscus syrup.
I was surprised by how much I liked the hibiscus syrup. The kids weren’t keen, they said it tasted like medicine! However I loved it. Especially once I added a squeeze of fresh lemon juice to the syrup before serving. The colour was so pretty and vibrant and I think it lifted the flavour of the strawberries. The kids (and my husband) preferred their rice custard topped with just fresh strawberries.

It’s winter here in Australia and it’s been pretty mild, apart from a storm that swept the entire East Coast last weekend.
The northern beaches of Sydney where I live were hit pretty hard, the photo below captures one of the local beaches before and after the storm. It made the rounds on facebook so I have no idea who to credit it to but it captures the impact of the storm pretty well.
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This weekend they are predicting another round of storms.
The rain and the wind were so fierce last time, we were pretty much housebound.
If we have a repeat of this weather this coming weekend I am planning to make another batch of this rice custard, watch movies and keep warm. Maybe try some warm winter toppings on the custard!

I am looking forward to seeing what the rest of the Tuesdays with Dorie group chose to cook this week!

 


15 Comments

Chocolate Pudding

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todd's 16th

This week my son turned 16!
His birthday falls at the end of the Easter two week school holidays.
On the first day of the school holidays he went to Chinatown in Sydney with his friends and had a great day at the markets and eating dumplings. The next day he started to feel unwell and a week later we found out he had salmonella poisoning. Luckily it wasn’t severe enough to send him to the hospital but it knocked him around for the entire 2 week school holiday break. He lost a few kilos that he really couldn’t afford to lose so I was excited to get him eating again!

He loves chocolate and I had planned to make this week’s Cook the Book Fridays recipe, the salted butter caramel-chocolate mousse for his birthday celebrations with the family. I left My Paris Kitchen open on the recipe page on the kitchen bench and everyone who walked past and saw the photo was excited! It looks amazing.ย The problem was that I realised the recipe required raw eggs. Normally I wouldn’t give this a second thought. However, after our salmonella experience I decided (reluctantly) that I just couldn’t take the risk. I broke the news to the family that I would not be making the mousse and my daughter thankedย her brother for getting himself sick and “ruining everything”. (I don’t have siblings, I am an only child so I need my husband who is one of 4 boys to reassure me that this is normal!)

I decided to compromise (and I hope the group doesn’t mind) by finding a recipe from David Lebovitz for something similar. I couldn’t go past the Double Chocolate Pudding on his website!
In the past week I have made a double batch of the recipe 3 times. It was surprisingly silky and smooth but not overly sweet. The problem with this was that you could just keep eating it! The third time I made it first thing in the morning and took the photos before everyone came home from school, uni and work. It really was that good! It was also very quick and easy to make. So much reward for such little effort! I know I’ll be making it again… and again… and again ๐Ÿ™‚
I know down the track I will make the salted caramel mousse, but for now I can’t say enough good things about David’s Chocolate Pudding!
Iย can’t wait to see how everyone went with this week’sย Cook the Book Fridays group recipe!

 


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Lemon Slice – Australia Day 2016, Dee Why Beach

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Lemon Slice on Australia Day? Why not!!!
It’s straight out of the fridge and icy cold, the perfect bite for out hot Aussie weather.
This fortnight’s Tuesdays with Dorie recipe was a great addition to our Australia Day Celebrations.

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January 26th is Australia Day and as usual we head out to Dee Why Beach on the Northern Beaches of Sydney.
We have bacon and egg or sausage and egg sandwiches.
There are pancakes with maple syrup and butter or lemon and sugar.
And this year we had Dorie’s Lemon Squares!

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The festivities include a car and bike show, thong (flip flop) throwing competitions, rides, performers and music.
Tattoos are a must, as are hats, flags and anything else that bears the Aussie flag wrapped around your body, your car or even around your house. I usually end up with an Australia flag tattoo on my cheek at some point in the day.
It’s tradition ๐Ÿ™‚
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And of course there’s always a few kangaroos hopping about…

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The celebrations start early on Australia Day so we head home around lunch time, when the heat is at it’s peak. We have a rest and put lamb (another Australia Day tradition) in the oven for hours of slow roasting then head back to the beach for a swim while it cooks.
We return home tired and famished. The smell that greets us is soothing and we can’t wait to eat!
This year we will be finishing off a great day and great meal with Lemon Squares topped with dollops of whipped cream.

You can find the recipe (with raspberries added) here.
* We have nut allergies in the house so I left out the almond meal and used normal flour.
I also left off the almond slices that were to be scattered on top of the squares.